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IN TWO PARTS.
YE ARE OUR EPISTLE, WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS, KNOWN AND REAP OF ALL MEN. 2 COR. 111. 9.
1 He following letters, containing various cases of conscience, have at different times been sent to me; and such answers have been given to them as the God of all grace hath enabled me to write. My intention was to have left them behind me in manuscript, for others to burn, or to publish, as they thought proper, after my decease; but many persons having solicited me for more numbers of the 'Epistles of Faith,' to amuse themselves with in the winter evenings, hath induced me to send as many of them out at once as I could well put in a sizeable volume; and, as the Epistles of Faith are now the property of Mr. Terry, I have, by way of distinction, called these letters Living Epistles, which name, I think, they will bear, being most of them, if not all (according to my judgment), written by persons whom the living God hath quickened.
When there is a shaking among the dry bones, and a gathering together to the standard, and grievous complaints that all hopes are cut off; when sinners begin to come to themselves, and feel a spiritual famine in the land, and complain that they shall perish with hunger; when there is among them a coming with humble confession of sins, and begging the bread of heaven; when the spirit is wounded, and the patient is crying for the good physician; when barrenness is felt, and the living God thirsted after, as the hart after the water brook; when reproof enters deeper into -their hearts than a hundred stripes into the baek of a fool; when the curse of the law felt in the conscience makes them hunger and thirst after righteousness; when they are drove out of their refuges of lies; when they can no longer settle upon their lees; when they find that this is not their rest, because it is polluted; when the earnest desires of their souls are going out after Christ day and night; when they ar,e flying from the wrath to come, and are inquiring their way to Zion with their faces thitherward; when fears, guilt, wrath, torment, and death, are pursuing them, and they are catching at the Rock for the want of a shelter; when nothing but sin and death appears, and nothing but Christ is wanted; we may conclude, in a judgment of charity, and truth too, that such souls are under the promised breathings of the Spirit of life.